Saturday, May 31, 2008

Same Old...Same Old

Last night was the Monks final baseball game. Of all the teams out there they faced the Twins, who were in first place and had only lost once all year. They played well, but were just not up to the challenge. The Twins infield played well above the 8 year old level. They played like 13-14 year olds. Ashley had a nice double and a couple RBI’s along with a sacrifice with another RBI earlier. Her team seemed about equal at the plate, but that fielding made the difference. Final score was 10-14. After the game we all went to Master Wok to eat. She wasn’t to down about the loss, instead she was more focused and excited about her upcoming Saturday morning Baton recital.
Kristie and I got home and sat down together, put in a cartoon video of Droopy Dog started to relax. Yes a cartoon. I have yet to grow-up too much for cartoons. After only one episode we looked at each other and said, “I’ll call it a night if you will.” We went to bed early, around 10pm.
I awoke around midnight very restless. I was tossing about, got up and down several times, you know the drill. I finally went back to sleep after 2:30. Was it because I went to bed too early, or was it the Kung Pao Shrimp and Lobster?
Around 4 am we were awaken once again. It’s been a tough night. This time we could hear a regular beep sound coming from somewhere in the distance outside. Just a short beep, about every 45 seconds. We both agreed it must be an alarm on the irrigation equipment in the field up the road, and tried to go back to sleep. After about 45 minutes I heard my cell phone turn itself off because of low battery. I had forgotten to plug it in. I’ll give you 25 guesses as to what the beeping really was.

What a night

Thursday, May 29, 2008

4-19-2006 (cont)

Near the end of our visit at the Mission, I received a cell call from my God Daughter Hillary. She lives about two hours up the coast from Los Angeles and wanted to get together. Her husband Mando had angled the evening off and so we arranged to meet them half way between San Juan Capistrano where we were and their house. Halfway turned out to be Hollywood. We met on the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Vine St. near the famed Capital Records building. We found a small Thai place to eat nearby and had a nice time. I had spoken to Armando several times on the phone and exchanged e-mail with him a number of times, but this was the first time we'd actually met. It was like we'd been friends forever. He's a great guy.

When I lived in California a bunch of us used to hang out now and then in Hollywood. It was a weird place then and it's a weirder place now.
Loads of fun.

Hillary has a very early morning job at her local airport, so the evening couldn't last too late. We all hated to go our separate ways after a too short visit, but we all agreed to hook-up late this summer when she and Mando come to visit the family near here.

Hillary, I love you. You remind me of your dad so much.


The Mission San Juan Capistrano is a beautiful place to spend a day. Founded in the same year as our country, 1776 it is the oldest building in California still in use today.

The Mission is also famous for the annual returning of the swallows.

Every spring Cliff Swallows make the 6,000-mile journey north from their winter homes near Goya, Argentina back to the Mission. The birds have made the trip to San Juan Capistrano every summer for centuries. The Mission's location near two rivers make it the ideal location to nest, and there was a constant supply of the insects on which they feed, and the young birds are well-protected inside the ruins of the old stone church

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Last week during Kristie’s regular night out with her friends, I went to see “Iron Man”. Last night we finally found a time to see a film together. Our “Date Nights” often include a movie and it was her turn to pick.

When we were in California we repeatedly saw trailers for the romantic comedy “Made of Honor”.

On the surface it looks like a typical chick flick, a remake of “My Best Friends Wedding”, but it was more than that. Yes it was a story about a guy afraid of commitment waiting until it was almost too late. When he realizes the girl of dreams, his perfect partner is right in front of him, he learns she has become engaged. And worse she asks him, as her best friend to become her Maid of Honor. So Tom (the hero) with some deviously funny help from his friends uses that assignment as a tool to ‘win her back’ so to speak.

It’s really a pretty good date movie. The women will love it yet there is enough quirky humor to keep guys interested. Yes, it's totally predictable. But I found the main characters to be likeable
and the cinematography around
Scotland was breath taking. And it was funny. When you see it if you don't laugh out loud it's because you are determined not to laugh. Laughing hard during many scenes, and I even found myself thinking like his buddies, coming up with ideas on how to reach their goal of "stealing the girl."

Overall - it was funny, entertaining, my wife loved it
and for a "chick flick" it was very enjoyable. No need to sneak a listen to your iPod on this one!

Next up for us. Indy Jones

Sydney Pollack in his final role as Tom's Father.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tee dom dom dah da dom dom.

"The Andy Griffith Show."

We all know that song. "The Fishing Hole"

Just hearing the whistling of those opening notes always puts me into a great mood.

Earle Hagen, composer of that and several other memorible television theme song died today. He was 88.

Hagen composed original music for more than 3,000 episodes, pilots and TV movies, including theme songs for "That Girl," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer," "Make Room for Daddy,"and "I Spy." and for several movies. He even won an Oscar for one score.

Hagen called himself "A Famous Composer -- Nobody Ever Heard Of." In fact that was the title of his autobiography. Hagen wrote two other books on the subject of composing.

Kristie and I went to a movie tonight. "Made of Honor" I'll likely write more about that later. We didn't realize it until tonight but Actor, Director Sydney Pollack who passed away yesterday had his final role as an actor in this movie as the hero's father. He was 73.


My best friend from high school still lives in southern California. I had not seen him in years; in fact we had lost contact until sometime last year. Needless to say we have burned-up the web with our e-mail remembrances and the catching-up with each others lives.

Ron and his wife live about 30 miles from our old stomping grounds and about a mile and a half up. He lives just above the mountain resort town of Idywild. When they became “empty nesters“ they moved “up the hill” which was always his dream. Ron was something of a mountain man even back in school. He and Kathy opened a shop in Idywild. Merkeba sells tea, candles, wind chimes, kites, flags and so on. The main business is tea. They process, blend package and sell tea. The store is about two years old and according to Ron has been doing well since the start. Beside the retail store, they also do a booming mail order tea business.

We drove up the mountain to visit them at their shop. We didn’t spend any time in the mountains during our last trip to SoCal. Idywild holds a world of memories for me. Our church camp was there so naturally I remember those times fondly. And I hiked and camped on the peaks many time as a late teen. In fact Ron and I had been snowed in there one time. Idywild is the place where the rattlesnake got me. Idywild is the place where lightning almost finished me off. And as I said Idywild almost froze me and starved me once. It’s a big mountain at almost 11,000 feet. As it has the quickest rise in elevation in the 48 states there are some fantastic vistas.

The drive up was much as I remembered with surprising little change. It was breath taking. The views are amazing when it is one of the rare clear days. On our day the conditions were fairly good.

We arrived at Ron’s store and it was as if time had frozen. Little had changed in all the years. Other than having families, a few gray hairs and a few extra pounds. We picked up on our conversations just were we left them so long ago. The day flew by quickly.

We had such a great time we made plans to meet later in the week in a town below the mountain for dinner and more remembering.

Monday, May 26, 2008

We went to see Ashley play baseball this evening. Once again she had a crowd to cheer her and her team on. They won 10 to 9. After a slow start early in the season they have battled back to third place of nine teams. Tonight's win makes five in a row. In their league they only are playing four innings, ( 8 yr old) so the Monk only got two times at bat. She fouled out the first time, but her second trip to the plate she connected with a screamer of a line drive right over the pitchers head. A double driving in two. Go Monk !

After the game Kristie and I stopped by Zaxby's. We love their grilled "Zalads" The place was not too crowded and very pleasant. While we were eating a family came in sitting next to us. After receiving their food their little girl offered a blessing that warmed my heart. She looked to be about four or five, hair all braided and full of smiles. Her prayer went somethng like this. " God is great, God is good.......By his hand we are fed.... " then she concluded by saying, " Thanks for Mommy, Daddy and Victor ." who I assumed was the brother sitting next to her. She closed with a louder "AMEN!" Then she leaned back raised both of her hands and fairly shouted, " Chicken Strips, Thank You Jesus ! "

Sincerity and joy... Sometimes there can be lessons learned from the prayer of a child.

I think Her parents are doing something right

Last night at NewSpring was my normal rotation with the production team. I was assigned to a camera 3 down front next to the action. That cam is mobile and we usually have a cable runner to help keep things straight and untangled. Last night we were short handed. Though I had operated solo before, it is a challenge to stay free of the wires.
Early during run through, I suddenly felt a slight pressure on the cable. Looking around I saw staff member Ben Coleman drop what he was doing and pitch in to act as my Grip. A cool thing about the team is that we are just that. A team working for one goal. Without being asked, Ben filled in making my job so very much easier.

Thanks Ben for your willingness. You are tops my friend.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's been a long time since I posted one of these. Kevin was visiting and he got to talking about illusions so......

What do you see?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Did you know each full moon has a name?

Here is a listing of this years remaining full moon along with their dates.

May 19, 9:11 p.m. EDT — Full Flower Moon:
Named for the May Flowers

Since May’s full moon comes so late it appears to be smaller than most.
It appears to be 12.3 percent
smaller than the full moon on Dec. 12th

Jun. 18, 1:30 p.m. EDT — Full Strawberry Moon:
Named by Native American.
Europeans called it the Rose Moon.

Jul. 18, 3:59 a.m. EDT — Full Buck Moon:
Named for the season when buck deer grow new antlers .

Aug. 16, 5:16 p.m. EDT — Full Sturgeon Moon:
Named for the when the fish of the Great Lakes are easiest to catch.

Sept. 15, 5:13 a.m. EDT — Full Harvest Moon:
Traditionally, this is the full moon that occurs closest to the Fall Equinox.
The Harvest Moon usually comes in at the peak of the harvest.
Farmers can work into the night by the light of this moon.

Oct. 14, 4:02 p.m. EDT — Full Hunters' Moon:
With the leaves falling, it is time to hunt for the thanksgiving banquet after the harvest.

Nov. 13, 1:17 a.m. EST — Full Beaver Moon:
Time to set beaver traps before the freeze.

Dec. 12, 11:37 a.m. EST — Full Cold Moon:
In this first real month the of the winters cold.

Fifteen Seconds of Fame

That's about the amount of time my lovely image was on the screen. That's accumulated time. The longest single moment was around four seconds. Turns out 15 seconds is about as much as the average person can stand anyway. Isn't it interesting that the taping of the shows lasted almost five hours.

Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others.-Sir Winston Churchill

To me it is funny how excited we both became at being on television. Especially since we never watch anything. Honestly, though it is in it's twenty-fifth year I never sat down and actually watched a complete episode of Wheel. Until this week. Now I've been in the room when it was on. My In-laws never miss a night. It's on every time I visit yet I never paid much attention to it.

That's the way it is with many church people when it comes to hearing God's voice. It's on. It's there, plain to hear, we just never pay much attention to it.

A few months ago our pastor challenged us to begin a quiet time with God. And for me that's been hard. Not that I don't want to. It's that I'm having to learn to. I have a very active mind, and it seems to dash off in 360 directions at every given moment. Like I said " sometimes the background noise is deafening".

Last night my wife and I ate our supper quickly, stacked the dishes, closed the drapes ( sorry window treatments) , turned off all other distractions, and got comfortable in our chairs to intently watch and hear what Pat, Vanna and the others said and did.

Fame has also this great drawback, that if we pursue it, we must direct our lives so as to please the fancy of men. -Baruch (Benedict de) Spinoza

I learned another lesson about how to connect with what God is saying. Pick a time, stack the days 'chores ' and put them aside for a moment. Remove yourself from the distractions of daily life, your job, the phone and kids. Get comfortable, tune in and then you can truly hear what God is saying.

Oh BTW even after seeing the game in person, I still couldn't solve the puzzles. I never was good at Hangman either.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Wheel of Fortune

Day four was Kristie’s first full day off without classes. Several weeks before the trip, I sent away for Tickets to the filming (taping) of a few TV shows. Today we had tickets to see Wheel of Fortune. Sony pictures studios are in Culver City near Los Angeles. We had to arrive early to ensure our seats. It seems the tickets only get you in the gate. And limited seating rewards those who turn out early. After we got in we were seated in the back corner. (luck of the draw ) But shortly before filming an usher came over and motioned to us to follow him. He led us right down front row center. I think they try to balance the audience out and pick happy smiling faces for the front row.

They record a weeks worth of shows each filming day. The hosts (Pat and Vanna) changing clothing between each show. During that time the producer and announcer comes up to the audience and tells stories, jokes around and gives away silly little prizes. Hat’s and T-shirts were the best.

The announcer, Charlie O'Donnell, noticed Kristie’s shirt said Anderson University and struck-up a conversation with us. He told us all about his 40 something year history in TV. How he started with Dick Clark on American Bandstand and so on. Then he had us tell him about South Carolina saying he’d only been there once in his life. And that was several years ago when Wheel was on the road in Charleston. And he said all he saw was the hotel and the attached convention center where they filmed.

Pat and Vanna also came out and spoke once or twice for a moment or two. BTW no camera's or cell phones were allowed inside, so we didn't get any pictures.

It was a lot of fun, but our arms got tired from 21/2 hours of solid clapping. I am sure we were on camera several times in each episode. Our airdates are coming soon. ** UPDATE It's tonight **

Now that we are STARS, we’ll gladly sign autographs.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The strictly non-Biblical signs of impending apocalypse

  1. I'm drinking more hot tea in the evenings
  2. I discovered Iced Coffee as a refreshing afternoon beverage.
  3. The guy at Micky-D's got my order right and said, "thank you"


Day three alone saw me driving to the Long Beach Airport. There is a great pilot shop there and I needed a new check list for my plane and what ever other trinkets caught my eye. While I was there a young man came in and asked the proprietor if he knew where the so and so school was located. The owner did not. But as I was driving out of the airport I looked up and saw a large modern building, with 6 feet high lighted letters that proclaimed it to be the school. Not 50 yards from the airport entrance. How could this guy NOT see that every day? It is less than a quarter of a mile from his store on the ONLY road. Talk about being caught-up in your own world.

I had forgotten the Long Beach Grand Prix was that week. It’s an sports car race held on the city streets. As I headed towards town I noticed the signs closing many of the roads. After a couple detours I gave-up on downtown Long Beach for that day.

Long Beach is about 25 minutes from Anaheim so I went straight back. Pausing at the hotel for a bottle of water from the suite’s fridge, I then headed to Riverside where I spent my teen years. March Air Force base near Riverside is about 40 minutes away but because of my early start I arrived at their fantastic Air Museum just an hour after they opened.

I spent my third day in a row looking at old airplanes. For me this is a form of paradise.

Back in Anaheim I joined my bride and her A.U. class mates for a 7 pm dinner reservation at Morton’s steak house. That deserves a whole blog just by itself. But I won’t. I will say it was a massive steak and near perfect. I was not paying, we were guests of a vendor, but I saw the bill. My steak, baked potato, salad and water cost $ 117 just by itself. It was good. Not quiet the Kobe beef I ate in Japan, but compared to $19.99 at Sizzler back home,it was great, well not six times better. Anyway now I can say I ate a hundred dollar steak

There has been slight confusion between my vacation blogs and my current event blogs. Sorry!

I'll go back and attach the actual date to the vacation blogs at the top in BOLD red. Maybe this will help.

I plan to continue blogging about my recent vacation due to popular demand. (mom!)

But I expect to continue mixing it up blogging current thoughts as well. So now you'll know the the time line.

Monday, May 19, 2008


There is not one but two great Air Museums at the Chino airport. The Yanks museum is located just up the ramp from the Planes of Fame museum. So on my second day alone I was right back in the car heading that way again. Yanks is a nice museum but no where near as large as Planes of Fame. However the planes were just as nicely done and the building and grounds were great. I spent almost 6 hours there.

I had lunch at a Café right on the airport property
. Flo’s diner was just what the names implies. An old time 40's-50’s style diner complete with pinkish vinyl covered booths and stools at the counter. Dining alone I chose the counter. Everything was stereo-typical greasy spoon, but that’s not to say it was dirty. In fact there seemed to be five employees who spent every spare second scrubbing or wiping something down.

The waitress working the counter like the others wore a uniform that would have been at home in Mel’s dinner on the old TV show Alice. In fact she even had a plastic engraved name tag that read Flo. She was THE Flo, owner and namesake of the place. As I sat down the first thing she said between chomps on her gum was to ask me. “Wadda ya have, hon? “ I ordered a cheese burger feeling this would be easy. Well the burger plate comes with a salad, fries and a drink. Oh my. The salad was big enough to feed you and me. A heaping bowl about the size of a punch bowl and swimming in the Blue Cheese dressing I ordered on a hunch. Good guess, it was homemade and very good. By the time I started to see a small dent in the salad, the burger and fries arrived. “Here you go sugar” Said Flo. What can I say? The burger was about the size of a boat trailer tire. Maybe 10 inches no kidding. And it was so thick I had to lean my entire weight on it to mash it down enough to bite. Saying it comes with an order fries would be a massive understatement. I bet there was near a pound of fries. Enough that if placed end to end they may well have exceeded the length of the runway outside.

It was all so good. Old fashion fast food made to order. But after I quit eating, and notice I did not say I finished, I
had to just quit. When I was done, stuffed full, Flo brings over a” hunk” of homemade peach pie. A “hunk” is her word for a serving. A serving large enough for a Mongol hoard that is. I suspect the piece of pie alone contained enough nourishment and energy for an entire family of circus acrobats. I had to try. It was so good. I just could not eat it all. No worries, Flo insisted in putting the remainder in a box for me. I ate the rest that night. You know the whole spread only cost me 6 dollars.

It’s a good thing Flo’s is 2300 miles away from my house. Eating there I would be bigger that the door quickly